Insights from Ms. Estela Amadeo, World Bank’s Senior HR Business Partner
Tell me about your experience at the World Bank! How did you end up working for it?
I started working at the Human Resources Department of the InterAmerican Development Bank (IADB) right after I finalized my HR Master’s at George Washington University. During the three years I worked at the IADB I completed my MBA degree at the University of Maryland. HR is a very wide field that requires sound knowledge of how the different pieces of the business puzzle fit together and what is their impact on the overall strategic organizational level. Both degrees plus the very valuable IADB experience provided me with a wide array of skills and tools to take my HR career forward. My next job was a short temporary contract with the World Bank doing recruitment for their Information Technology Department. Shortly thereafter I joined the HR Department. One thing lead to another, and luckily I’m still working here, 15 years later.
How is it like to be an HR at the World Bank? What do your duties entail?
Working in HR Client Services at the World Bank is exhilarating, as the scope of work is so wide and our potential for impact so crucial. We support all aspects of the life cycle of staff’s careers across 150+ countries where they are employed. This has a direct impact on the Bank’s ability to succeed at carrying out its mission of eradicating poverty, so it’s a pretty exciting and meaningful job.
Could you tell us more about World Bank’s selection process? What qualities do you look at?
We carry out selection processes in interview panels which are comprised by the hiring manager and a set of relevant colleagues to the position we are looking to fill. I participate in recruitments for management positions only as there is not enough time to participate in all recruitments.
I cannot single one most important thing to be hired, it is a set of qualities/experience, and their complexity increases depending on the seniority of the job. We typically look at what we call the “T” model, i.e., someone who has in-depth knowledge of a specific area and at the same time has broad expertise that will allow the person a wide scope of action beyond the specific area of expertise.
Aside from the professional aspect, behaviors are also very important. We ensure that those we hire have strong people skills, can work in teams, deal with conflict in a constructive manner, etc. Also, we have a very diverse work environment, as our staff are from all over the world.
What was your most memorable experience at the World Bank?
My most memorable experience was when I headed the HR Team that supports Latin America. It was a huge and rewarding challenge. Other experiences I particularly value are the visits to our offices in the countries. I’ve been to Bolivia, Uruguay, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Dominican Rep.ublic, Jamaica, Georgia and soon India.
The World Bank has been substantially reforming itself for last decade or so; as an HR partner, have you noticed any such changes in your work?
Yes, lots of changes, as HR has been reorganizing itself in order to best support the staff and the business in its different configurations throughout the years. The constant changes require that one has to keep learning, adapting and growing. No two days are the same, there are always new challenges.
Ms. Estela Amadeo is a Senior HR Business Partner at the World Bank. She provides advisory services to the Bank’s client teams, interacts with World Bank’s clients, and contributes to business and talent strategy, policy formulation and implementation of people management related agenda. Find out more about her here.